Monday, June 18, 2012

Give a Little, Get a Lot: My Portugal Day Race Report

Last weekend was the Mini 10k, a women only race. To help pump the women up, most of the men from our team got together to cheer at the 5 mile mark. We had signs, balloons, and vuvuzelas. We were loud and definitely had a great time cheering the women-folk on. Well, this week's race, the Portugal Day 5 Miler was a men's team point race (women could still sign up, but they weren't trying to earn points for the team) so the women came out to cheer us on--more on that in a minute.

I woke up at 5:30 on Sunday for my usual peanut butter and bagel and read the newspaper before heading to the subway at 6:40 so I could get to the baggage area by 7. The race was in Central Park so it was easy to get to. After a nice warm-up with teammates I made a final pit-stop and I have to say that the lines were much shorter than at a normal race--amazing what happens when most of the women aren't running...

My plan was to run seriously but not to kill myself. I had talked with a couple other guys about running somewhere in the 6:10 to 6:20 range and that sounded good for the day. After a stirring rendition of the both the Portuguese and American national anthems it was time to race.

The gun went off and I was surprised at how crowded the field was. Initially I managed to run with a couple teammates but we lost each other quickly in the mass of people. I managed a 6:12 first mile and felt surprisingly good. The best part of mile 1 was seeing one of my teammates, Elizabeth, cheering from the sidelines in a polka dot bikini!

I still felt good for my 6:14 second mile. At this point we'd gotten the bulk of the hills out of the way so I was hoping for an easier time but mile 3 just felt off. I did it in 6:24 at which point I knew I wasn't trying hard enough. Mile 4 had more downhill and I knew I had to be approaching the women's cheering station. Sure enough, a huge contingent of lady Whippets were stationed just before the mile marker. I actually heard them well before I saw them which shows how loud they were cheering. That helped make for 6:14 mile 4.

Of course, as soon as the women were out of ear shot I realized I had taxed myself with all my fist pumping at their cheer station--I felt a little dizzy. I started to slow down a little bit even though the end was so close. I concentrated on running the tangents since the field had opened up and I knew I didn't have much hope for extra speed. With the finish in sight I tried some kind of kick but couldn't do better than 6:21 for my final mile.

I ended up finishing in 31:25, or 6:17 pace. To put things in perspective, my half PR, almost two years old now, was set at a 6:18 pace and my 4 mile PR is a 6:01 pace. One thing I know I have to figure out after today's race is eating. That bagel proved too heavy. The bagel breakfast works great for halves and fulls where I'm (a) waking up with more time before the start and (b) not trying to go so fast, but it's too much before short runs.

The good news is, while it wasn't a fast race I didn't feel "sluggish." I think I've managed to shake off some of the fatigue that was affecting me post-Boston and Brooklyn. Hopefully with careful training this summer I can regain some speed.


  1. I heard these ladies from a distance and thought it was cheering-noise traveling all the way from the finish line. Congrats and great job not feeling sluggish!

  2. i think male runners take just as long at the porta potties ;)

    nice job! sounds like you are ready for chicago training.